Is texting a Mom’s new best friend?

In the last few months, I have become a convert to texting. I think it’s a great tool for moms for many of the same reasons that teens like it.

  • It’s less intrusive than a phone ringing. I feel like I can send a friend a question without bothering them or interrupting their family time. Also if you don’t know the family’s schedule – are they eating, are they napping, praying – it’s just less intrusive.
  • It’s immediate and easy to do.
  • I also like that the info stays around. I needed my friend’s address so she texted it to me. I can look that up anytime I need it and it doesn’t disappear like paper notes.  I can send babysitters dates and times and I know they will have it even if they don’t write it in their calendars.

I have several friends who work crazy hours and when they are home with their families I don’t want to interrupt their family time.  But with texting we can says things like “hey if you have time to walk I am going at 5 or we’re going to park, want to come?” If they happen to see it then great, but I don’t feel like I am intruding on their family time.

I also use it when picking up at school. If I am running late or my friend is running late then we can just text to grab the other’s kids and tell them mom is coming.

I also like it to communicate with Michael.  He can quickly let me know when he’s landed safely or is in a meeting or if he doesn’t have time to talk right then.

We used texting very effectively last weekend at an education conference we attended. He went into different seminars than I did. He let me know if he didn’t like one and was switching classes. He let me know when he was going to get the kids.

Are you using texting as an effective Mom tool? Have you adopted this technology yet? Will you give it a try? How do you use texting for in your family life?

(Is your teen losing sleep and interrupting their learning cycle by texting at night? Check out our corollary blog about what being “on call” at night for their texting friends actually does to teen.)

– Theresa Walsh Gairrusso, ajc.com Momania

48 comments Add your comment

DB

March 29th, 2011
1:17 pm

Texting is a basic form of communication for my family, since we are in three different states at this moment. For my college-age kids, texts are my primary way of communicating questions, comments, observations, etc. I get one-sentence exclamations of frustrations, joy, excitement or boredom from them during the day — the kind of casual conversaton we’d engage in if they were here, but since they are 100 and 300 miles away, it keeps us “in the moment” of each other’s lives. I hardly ever call them, unless I need an immediate answer — that way, if they are in class, at a basketball game or hanging out with friends, I don’t interrupt their lives. And if I’m with a client, etc, when they text, I don’t have to drop everything to make sure they aren’t in trouble :-)

My husband is finishing up a year-long project out-of-state, and athough we make it a point to talk daily, we find that we text quite a bit during the day — reminder, inquiries, etc. And during the NCAA basketball games this weekend, we had texting quips going on between five family members in four different states rooting for a couple of teams throughout the games!

Honestly — I can’t imagine not having texting. It would really put a crimp in our communications! Thank God for unlimited texting!

DB

March 29th, 2011
1:18 pm

And then, of course, there’s Skype — which is another whole topic!

Young@heart

March 29th, 2011
1:34 pm

I use text in many of the same ways you do TWG…very convienant with little intrusion if they are involved in something else….also handy at the office, with out everyone knowing your business!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2011
1:38 pm

when I wrote my reasons for why great for moms, I wasn’t thinking about communicating with my kids because I am not there yet but like DB said and many on the other teen texting topic — it is a primary way for parents to coordinate and communicate with teens who do have phones. didn’t even occur to me at all – just not my reality yet –

JOD

March 29th, 2011
2:07 pm

I don’t text regularly except with Hubs. He often can’t talk on the phone while at work, so he texts me what’s going on, when he’ll be home, etc. It sounds like a great tool for many families as DB said – I’m sure we will use it more once DD is older… Looking forward to hearing what others have to say!

TnT's Mom

March 29th, 2011
2:19 pm

It can be a great way to communicate with teenagers. I have 2 and we text often. Its a great way to keep in touch with short questions and reminders. However, its annoying when I get a text while sitting on the couch watching tv from my teenager who is upstairs in bed and wants me to turn off the driveway light. Really? He couldn’t get up, walk down the hall and ask?

JJ

March 29th, 2011
2:34 pm

I communite with my daughter about 75% of the time with texting. But I still need to hear her voice at least once a day. Anyone can text from her phone, so I just need to know it’s her on the other end.

penguinmom

March 29th, 2011
2:38 pm

Texting is nice also because the message gets delivered as soon as they are in range of a cell-tower. Which is great if you trying to reach someone who is inside a building where they don’t get good cell reception. It is way easier for them to retrieve than leaving them a voice-mail message.

My question is how many people still don’t have unlimited texting? We have a pretty high limit but haven’t gone to unlimited yet. I have a few friends who still pay for each and every text so I hesitate to text them. However, if I get a text from someone, I assume they have unlimited so don’t worry about texting them whenever I need to.

JJ

March 29th, 2011
2:53 pm

@TNTsMom – My daughter texts me from the basement to see what’s for dinner….LOL.

Me

March 29th, 2011
3:04 pm

Yep — We text more than we use the phone – It’s a simple and efficient manner of communication for us.

iRun

March 29th, 2011
3:08 pm

As Theresa noted, I like it because I can send a casual query to a friend without all the pageantry of a phone call, which can stop the momentum of a task. Someone sends me a text (I say SMS because I didn’t start SMSing until I started traveling to Africa and that’s how they refer to it) and I can look and see if I want to answer immediately or in a bit.

My kid has a cell phone but he doesn’t know how to SMS yet (he’s 9). We got him a pre-paid basic phone because he likes to walk home from school by himself (1/2 mile) or over to his friend’s house around the block and he can call me to let me know he got to his destination. And I can call him to come home.

Spacey

March 29th, 2011
3:11 pm

Love texting with my husband. We use texting as our primary source of communication and have done so for years! Both of our jobs do not allow for a lot of time on the phone. This way we can text and keep working.
Although, I love the sound of a voice sometimes. Texting can get crazy when you have something to explain. If I’m getting long, rambling texts, I’ll ask you to call me.

Stacey

March 29th, 2011
3:16 pm

I really just started texting in the last year or so and I must say that I love it now. Like others, I usually use it as an “FYI” tool for something that my husband or friend may want or need to know but not urgently enough for me to call and possibly interrupt their day. I have a sister who works strange shifts and doesn’t always have the same day off and everytime I called her I would either wake her or catch her at work (she only has a cell). Now I will just text her and she will answer or call me when it’s convenient for her since I have more of a set schedule.

I pay for like $5/mth for 200 messages and very rarely go over. Before I got the text plan added I would sometime receive $5 worth of jokes, “chain letters” and pictures from people who assumed I had unlimited texting so my bill is really not any higher than before. Rarely a week goes by that several friends or family members don’t bombard me with the “Most Beautiful Mom Texts” or some kind of prayer that will come true if they send it to everyone in their address book in 9 minutes. Since there are a lot of mutual friends in my circle, I normally get the same messages several times.

Texter

March 29th, 2011
3:20 pm

Text with my kids all the time, I know with my son he will text with me all day long even when with his friends. He can talk/text to me and check in and still be cool. I know he screens my calls when he is with his friends.

TinaTeach

March 29th, 2011
3:24 pm

I text my husband mostly and eventually (assuming texting isn’t replaced by something else) I will text my son.

I think it’s a great form of communication. Now if only I could get my students to turn off their phones during class!

Texting is for Dads too

March 29th, 2011
3:26 pm

I think texting is the next best thing since sliced bread for reasons already mentioned. It rally comes on handy when you are somewhere where you really can’t talk – like a concert.

My oldest teen gets 8 minutes to change classes at a Gwinnett HS not to be named that has a few buildings versus one gigantic one. This space of time throughout the day allows us to communicate very easily with her and vice versa. I have have come to find it ironic that teens followed behind parents with having cell phones but parents followed them in using text!

Stacey

March 29th, 2011
3:27 pm

Spacey…My husband is a constant texter but he has a phone that anticipates words and he rarely proofreads before he sends. I often have to call to ask what he meant to say. My teen nieces and nephews use text language and acronyms that I don’t understand. They tease me about spelling things out. They say I write letters instead of send texts. :-D

iRun

March 29th, 2011
3:30 pm

Stacey, I have a Motorola Droid so it has a slide-out keyboard…so I don’t see the point in using txt language. I mean, sure, back when all you had was a phone keypad and limited texts I understand how it came to be. But nowadays with a full QWERTY keyboard and nearly unlimited texts I fail to see the point.

So, my texts are “letters”.

abc

March 29th, 2011
3:43 pm

I find texting to be a big annoyance. It’s equivalent to IM in your pocket 24×7, only you can’t even post your availability. People just presume that if they can text you, you’re always available, and they expect a response or action. It’s invasive; it conveys things not in a brief and to-the-point way, but often in an incomplete way, devoid of all the things that make actual interactive conversation pleasurable.

People walk around with their nose stuck on their phone, ignoring their immediate surroundings and the people they’re actually with and near. They walk at a snail’s pace and still bump into each other. I sat in a restaurant the other day next to a table with a teen and his mom, and they ignored each other the entire time, concentrating on their smartphones instead.

These kinds of things degrade our lives, not enhance them.

BEND OVER -Here Comes the Change

March 29th, 2011
3:53 pm

What’s wrong with the telephone? Texting, what a JOKE! I just want to be my kids friend, instead of parent…..

Photius

March 29th, 2011
4:05 pm

I like technology but many of its side effects produce strange human behavior. At the stop light, take a look around – lots of parents staring at their phone with their kid in the car, how sad. The vast majority of texts are about nothing yet everyone is obsessed with scrolling on their phone. Go to the playground on the weekend, all the parents are glued to their phones – what are you doing? Put the phone down in your car – talk to your kids instead. When you’re at the playground, take in the fresh air – pay attention to your kids, stare at the sky – or dare to allow yourself to become bored.

Nothing wrong with technology, but looking around lately – it’s sad and strange the effect it has on human behavior.

TallMom

March 29th, 2011
4:09 pm

Hold onto your hats folks…ready? Here goes…we don’t have a cell phone. Oldest daughter (18) does…pays for it herself.

Believe it or not…we survive just fine without one lol! We’ve had them in the past, and just don’t feel the need to have one right now (been about 2 yrs since we’ve had one). That may change in the future…we’re certainly not against them, just don’t have a need for one right now.

Photius

March 29th, 2011
4:10 pm

I recently saw this at the restaurant last weekend: Young married couple sitting across from each other – both staring at their phones texting on a Friday night.

You are not that important…. You are a very weird person… You are a Lemming.

motherjanegoose

March 29th, 2011
4:11 pm

Techno challenged here. Just when I figured out how to text on my old phone, it pooped out.
I do not know how to use texting on my new phone. I HATE it when I am in a restaurant and folks are all sitting in the same booth and everyone is doing something on their cell phone. Why go out to eat with friends if you cannot simply have a conversation? Guess I am way too old fashioned!

MomsRule

March 29th, 2011
4:11 pm

I text with my friends, family, employees and even my customers. It is quick and easy. Like others, I have many things to accomplish every day and lots of tasks don’t necessarily require a 5/10 mn (or more!) phone call. I find I spend less time on idle chit chat and more time being productive.

motherjanegoose

March 29th, 2011
4:12 pm

PHOTIUS…scary stuff…we were both relating same thing at the same time….hahaha!

Photius

March 29th, 2011
4:17 pm

MJG – perhaps we were TEXTING each other???!!! HA!

Mom of 2 teen boys

March 29th, 2011
4:37 pm

Texting is great with teenagers. I can check in with them without their friends knowing they’re replying to mom. This was especially helpful when my teen went to his frist downtown event with friends. I had him text me at various points along the way home (they rode MARTA), so I’d know where he was should something happen.

TnT’s Mom – my kids make fun of me when I text them that dinner’s ready or something similar! I’ve even been known to text them to tell them to go to bed when I’m already in mine.

MomsRule

March 29th, 2011
4:50 pm

I also find it strange that so many people sit in restaurants, at parks, little league, etc staring at their phones rather than conversing with each other. How is it that everyone is more important than the person you are with or the child you should be watching? I don’t understand it.

My hubby and I have stopped socializing with one couple as the husband would rather play with his phone all night. Annoying and rude.

And, please don’t talk on your phone when you are checking out at a store!

Stacey

March 29th, 2011
5:00 pm

I love TV commercials and one of my favorites is a cell phone commercial where the family is sitting at the table eating dinner when the husband says “Honey, did you just text me that your parents are moving in?” Then the daughter says “Mom, did you just e-mail me that they are taking my room?” Mom replied “Don’t worry, with our plan we get unlimited texts and e-mails so we won’t be charged for it. Would you like for me to help you compose a tweet so we can talk about it?”

Becky

March 29th, 2011
5:07 pm

I text my neices and nephews as thats the only way to contact them most of the time..If I really need to talk to them, I text them and tell them to call me..I have 400 text minutes per month and have never used all of them, probably never will..I don’t have a problem with texting, but don’t text me all that junk about forwarding this to a million people..If I’m in the same house with someone and they (or me) send a text, I ignore it..

newblogger

March 29th, 2011
5:27 pm

WOW-I agree with Photius today as well! We all (husband, two boys, myself) have cell phones and, except for my 10 year old, who only has his to let me know when he arrives safely at the park, friend’s house, ect. we all text. He doesn’t have that feature on his phone. I do not enjoy talking on the phone and texting is the next best thing. However, there is no texting during dinner or if we are all in the same room together talking, watching a movie or playing a game. We all agree that family time should be sacred and not interrupted by texts or phone calls. I was hoping my oldest follows the same guidelines when he is with friends and apparently he does. I asked his girlfriend and she confirmed that he is not a “nose stuck to the cell phone screen” kind of person. That’s nice to know that he doesn’t just do it for show when he is with us. Everything in moderation…

Betty

March 29th, 2011
5:51 pm

@Stacey–haven’t seen that one yet but I already love it!

Also, I agree with other posters about not wanting to go out to dinner with others only to have them tied up on their phone through dinner–that’s rude. However, I disagree with the comments about not watching with your kids or socializing with others at the park. Sometimes I just want to sit in the sunshine and get caught up on work/emails/phone calls etc, while letting my kids go play–free-range style without me hovering over them constantly. That’s the joy of my schedule—I get to take off early to pick them up from school but sometimes still need to respond to clients. It’s great for them, great for me.

Now, if I invited a friend to meet up with us at the park–I’d put the phone away and visit!

Betty

March 29th, 2011
5:53 pm

sorry…”watching your kids” not watching with your kids!

MomsRule

March 29th, 2011
6:04 pm

Betty, I see your point about the park. I completely understand that!! And, have been in that situation many times. I personally was speaking more about those that have their nose stuck in the phone at 1pm on Saturday afternoon while their little Johnny is pitching or up to bat or playing goalie. I know several parents that can’t even be bothered to watch while their child is playing in a sport. And in a few of the cases, I know for a fact they weren’t working. They were watching You Tube, or FB or whatever. To each his/her own :)

LM

March 29th, 2011
7:32 pm

I like to text for quick questions, but hate when my daughter wants to have a long drawn out conversation by text. At that point just make the phone call, it would be quicker.

My husband is one a different plan than my family plan. He does not have texting and has to pay for each text. I don’t text him often, but today we had a car at the office he has been looking at to buy. I sent him a photo and he complained about opening it. It is not like I text him often, maybe twice a year… I have my Mom on my family plan and I can send her photos of things I think would interest her, but still need to call her on the land line to help her open the message. lol

shaggy

March 30th, 2011
6:54 am

I’m a little late on this one, because I had to have actual conversations with people. I know that is weird…to look someone in the eye, while making sounds come from my larynx, and expect them to reply in the same manner.
I am sure that evolution, in the not too distant future, will relegate the larynx to the dust bin with the appendix, except for American Idol clones that will continue to make shrill karaoke noises, while pretending to have actual talent. That adaptation will be useful to the younger generations, who will still need to feel popular by declaring their idol in twitter groups.

Even weirder, is that I really don’t give a rat’s patootie about doing anything on a phone, except using it in the manner that Alexander Graham Bell intended. If you don’t rank a conversation in shaggy world, or if shaggy doesn’t rank one in yours, well…we just won’t ever see eye to eye, so just what is the point?

I have heard all of the “it’s so convenient” drivel, but my world isn’t all about convenience. I make a concious effort to learn how to do stuff that is on the other side of the universe from convenient, like climb large pieces of rock, also known as mountains. There is nothing convenient about that. I also know how to knap flint into a Clovis, Folsom, or Eden points. I have as close friend that makes stone knives you could carve your Thanksgiving turkey with, and we have been known to conduct real, larynx driven conversations.

JJ

March 30th, 2011
8:25 am

I took my daughter and nieces to a movie and I was so upset that one niece texted the entire time the movie was on. I told her I wasted $10 on her ticket, and I would never do that again. Plus the light from her screen kept annoying me.

Can you not put your freaking phone away for 2 hours?

shaggy

March 30th, 2011
8:42 am

JJ,

I gotta tell you…if that had been my niece, I would have taken that phone in one nanosecond. Since the snot nose is one of my siblings demon seeds, I would try to explain to the bros & sis it was done on my dime, be happy that I didn’t stomp it into itty bitty pieces. If they had a problem with that, it might be time for a whuppin.
It is a good thing that will never happen, because we all demand manners from any kids in our zone of influence…no ecceptions for family, indeed friends either.

Becky

March 30th, 2011
8:59 am

@shaggy..I too, would rather talk person to person..I have a sister that lives out of state and I talk to her every day of the week..I only text one neice and nephew about twice a month (if that often)..The nephew works for GA Power and I can just text him and he can get back to me whenever he has time…

As for the neice texting at the movies, I’m with you, would not happen in my world..That is one of my rules also..During dinner or out like that, NO texting or talking on the phone..Guess that’s why most of my neices and nephew call me an old biddy..

JOD

March 30th, 2011
9:51 am

@shaggy – Too funny! But really true. I text Hubs out of necessity, but really don’t like carrying a cell phone at all. I’m not sure when it was decided that we should all be accessible 24×7. My biggest pet peeve on cell phones is when we’ve said what we need to say, and now we’re still on the phone for…what? If you want to shoot the breeze, stop by in person!

DB

March 30th, 2011
10:15 am

@shaggy: Umm — it’s hard to look someone in the eye and talk to them if they are 700 miles away, y’know? And the whole idea of texting is that they AREN’T there in front of you to communicate with. As far as I’m concerned, it’s about on par with leaving someone a Post-It note on the fridge in terms of depth of communication.

@JOD: That was one of my earlier points — you have to have the presence of mind to turn the damn thing off occasionally, and not let the cell phone be a leash that you dance to every time it rings. I made that decision very clear to my clients when I had a client call me at 8 am on a Sunday morning about a project — it was not urgent, but she was up and happened to think about something, and just called me. I answered the phone as we were on our way to church, and when she started talking, I interrupted her and said, “I am getting ready to go into church — is this critical?” She was embarrassed, but at that moment, I realized that I shouldn’t have even answered the phone in the first place. It was a great lesson in setting personal boundaries, and when my kids cheered when I hung up, I realized I had been giving the phone too much power. So I stopped :-) It was a little like nicotine withdrawal, but I don’t even blink if the phone rings, now, and it’s not convenient to answer it.

shaggy

March 30th, 2011
10:54 am

DB,

By all means, text 700 miles or more away.
I have a booming voice, and prefer to use a phone as…well, a phone. Sue me.
There is little that is more obnoxious than the current cell phone/texting “ettiquite” that is regularly displayed by self-important and absorbed people…everywhere you look. I purposely do something very loud to disrupt the phoners. Sometimes loud works for the texters, they might even be startled, drop and break the damn thing. BooHoo!
Also, I prefer to use post it notes to make itty bitty paper airplanes that I toss at people who are obliviously texting 700 miles or more away.

Tada darling ;)

cc03

March 30th, 2011
1:06 pm

My husband and I do not have a texting plan on our phones. We text only a few times a month with a few people. It is cheaper for us to pay per text than to pay for unlimited texting. He doesn’t see the point of texting at all-he would prefer to just talk to the person. Plus, we have basic phones without full keyboards, so it’s just kind of a pain. We go out to eat once or twice a week and we always see someone at a table (a couple, parent/child, group of teens, etc.) that is busy playing on their phones, they don’t even interact with each other. They only stop when their food is brought to the table. Totally ridiculous. We just laugh!

JJ

March 30th, 2011
1:51 pm

Shaggy – to no avail, since her parents allow her to do whatever she wants. They are the family you see at dinner, all texting and no conversating….

On the other hand, cell phones are NOT allowed in my dining room when meals are served. Even my daughter’s friends know this. Not one of them brings their phone to the table at my house. God Bless them all. Actually, one of them told me that she liked my rule, so she took it home, and insisted that her family dine techno-free. Love it!!!!!

Becky

March 30th, 2011
2:49 pm

awww, shaggy..You are a man after my own heart..I also have a sister that lives in VA and I talk to her 2-3 (if not more) per week…Have a couple of coworkers that are always getting phone calls from thrir grown kids and one that gets about 8-10 text per day..What’s up with that?

Becky

March 30th, 2011
2:51 pm

JJ..If shes at my house, she follows my rules or she stays at home..That’s the way that I roll..

motherjanegoose

March 30th, 2011
5:41 pm

@ Becky…hahaha…my son used to spend a few weeks every summer at my sister’s house near the farms. They had a big garden and would sometimes eat veggies for dinner. He was not into veggies…better about it now. He mentioned this a few times and I told him that he was at THEIR house and needed to do what they did, if he wanted to be invited back.

Flip side…my husband’s niece and nephew came to stay with us once. Mom timidly told me the girl was a grazer. WHAT? ” We do not make her sit down for a meal…I know you do that sort of thing…” Yep and we did not have any trouble while she was at our house!